When in Manila, I always try to look for the best events and Graphika Manila is always on top of my list. I've been attending it for four years now and it gets bigger and better each year. Even though it's a design conference and not a design workshop, I've learned a lot from the speakers through the years. This year's Graphika Manila is no exception.

Dvein was the first one to kick off the event. It's a collaborative project between directors Fernando Dominguez, Teo Guillen and Carlos Pardo providing direction and art direction for live action and animation. I know most of us heard of mixing live-action and CGI/Animation in most movies today. What makes Dvein stand out is that they do it differently.

They mix natural objects with creative 3D animation in post. At first I couldn't understand what they were talking about and what their work was because they first showed us slow-mo macro shots of melting things and paint mixing fluidly together. But when they showed us the final footage, my mind was blown! Nature blended so well with animation and it was beautiful. You'll understand what I'm talking about here and here. Inspiration truly is around us. We just have to know where to look.

Yup. It's a real thing.

Next up was Sara Blake, popularly known online as Zso. She's an illustrator, fine artist, and designer from New York. (I wanna go to New York too! huhu) Her illustrations are beautiful and out of this world.I would like to illustrate to but I need years and years to practice.

This is Sara's logo and you'll notice that there's an upside down heart between S and Z. This is to show that she loves what she's doing and that we should also love what we do and pursue what we love to do. I totally agree. I really think that Sara is an amazing and inspiring person. . I also love her textures and I myself am obsessed with textures!

She emphasized that we still are who we were as kindergarteners. And for me it's true because I remember drawing a lot of Disney, McDonald's, and lots more characters. I also loved taking photos of my classmates with my Looney Tunes film camera which was bought at Jollibee. What a coincidence that I am now taking up an art course and would like to pursue my artistic dreams.


After lunch, it's Ash Thorp's turn to wow the crowd. He worked on some of the visual effects Iron Man, Ender's Game, The Amazing Spiderman and (gasp) the X-Men: First Class credits, which is one of my fave artsy credits because of its vintage feel (wow much hipster) and minimalism. Did I mention he's a FREELANCE designer, art director, illustrator and creative director? Oh no I didn't.

This is me trying to be funny. If I remember correctly, his works are made on Adobe Illustrator and then exported into another program, say like Maya or 3DSMax. This made me want to learn more about AI because it's just awesome.

Life lessons from Ash Thorp:
• If you ever find that you're the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.
• Never work for bad people.
• Always, always, always stay hungry and stay humble.
• Do what you love.

One of my favorite Filipino designers, Isabel Gatuslao, was also there to give inspiration! I personally love her works for their simplicity. They're minimalist but classy. This is not actually the first time I've gone to Isabel's talk. I first found out about her and her art at Heima's Design Discussions. If you wouldn't consider The Mill (the representative was a Filipino! Holla!), she's the only Filipino speaker this year! Hashtag represent!

She redesigned some of my childhood heroes like Best Buy and MediCard! Hooray for affordable school supplies and no charge hospitalization. Haha! Just look at that beauty! I want her to design my blog one day! So many exclamation points!

Here's a life lesson from Isabel. She got her dream job for obsessing over typefaces and identity. You just really have to love what you're doing.

If you're into games like Call of Duty, you've probably heard of The Mill and fanboyed throughout his talk. For those who are not familiar with them, The Mill is a post-production facility founded by British directors Ridley and Tony Scott. They're responsible for numerous VFX in movies and commercials. The Mill was represented by Fil-Am Eugene Gauran. He's a really cool guy.

He showed a lot of really cool stuff that my camera won't be able ti give justice to! I'll make it up by leaving you with a piece of advice from him:

If you really want something, you just have to go for it.

And last but definitely not the least, JESSICA HISCHE! If you have been living under a rock, Jessica is a letter, designer and illustrator who also happens to be a crazy cat lady. She's known for her silly side projects and occasional foul mouth. She also happens to be one of my design heroes.

I love her work so much it hurts. I am a sucker for really good typography and design. On the other hand, I still have more years to learn and improve!

Jessica designed those beautiful classic book covers! I saw a lot of them being sold here on Fully Booked. She also made the typeface (or was it font? Haha) for Moonrise Kingdom! O.M.G. She also mentioned something like "It's like two Wes Anderson movies started fucking each other." HUHU I love you Jessica! That is all.

P.S. I was listening to your podcast on Debbie Millman as I am writing this.

It's been a tradition at Graphika Manila to meet and greet with the speakers, have their autograph, and take a picture with them. Now I understand that there are thousands of attendees and that everyone wants to meet them but it was really crazier this year!

I was really near the speakers' meet and greet table but something happened. A swarm of attendees flocked in and surrounded the table. People kept pushing me backwards. I was literally swept by a sea of people. It felt like I was Pi from Life of Pi except I wasn't surviving. Here's an accurate representation.

I was really disappointed and sad that I might not be able to meet them. And I wanted to meet them so bad because I admire their work and awesomeness.

I even attempted a selfie with Ash Thorp because I really thought I wouldn't be able to meet them all. But alas, the angels from the heavens above showered us with hope. Patience, for short. After a reallllyyyyy long wait, I finally got to meet them in person! Warning: I had to lean back which enhanced my double chin. Enjoy! (LOL)

I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear after meeting them all. It was actually the first time that you could meet everyone because they were all together 'til everyone who wanted to meet them had the chance. It was frustrating at first but events this big, it'll be inevitable. I once again had fun and would continue to look forward to next year's event.

Things wouldn't be the same without the Graphika Manila Kit! Here's a breakdown of what was inside:

1. GM event paper thingy
2. Button pin (yay!), a pen, and Graphika Manila stickers
3. The GM bag
4. The GM book which is filled with awesome art from different artists.
5. Official GM Certificate. You get a certificate every event which you can claim online through a special code printed on it. I removed mine for the picture for safety reasons. Lol

Graphika Manila is definitely one event that I would patronize for the years to come. Plus I heard the event will be much bigger next year for their 10th anniversary! How time flies. I also made a video which will be up on my YouTube channel this week! Special thanks to Mr. Aram Beheshti for putting me on the guest list! It was an awesome experience!

I can't wait for Graphika Manila 2015! Because it will be bigger, I prepared a wish list for future Graphika Manila speakers I want to see:

1. TIMOTHY GOODMAN. If it wasn't for Jessica Walsh (who was in last year's GM by the way), I wouldn't have discovered him and his art through 40 Days of Dating. I really really wish he'd be invited!

2. JACKSGAP. The British twins Finn and Jack Harries not only conquered YouTube but also across social media platforms. Both of them are not only filmmakers but also graphic designers with really good taste. With their huge following, they were able to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust through The Rickshaw Run which was a beautifully-made documentary series.

3. GEMMA CORRELL. Her quirky illustrations and love for pugs seems like a good match for GM! She's funny and awkward and all that jazz.

If you want to know more about Graphika Manila, you can check out their website, their Facebook page and their Twitter account.

More photos from this event are on my Facebook page!


  1. like like like like :D :D :D Nice blog post Gelo :D

  2. May I ask what font you used in the images? Anyhow, great post! Makes the readers enjoy the event as well.

  3. thank you Keith! It's called Gotham :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...